LAYTON -- Since 9/11, Americans have been told to be prepared for disasters. Residents of Layton city are no different.
With the upcoming 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks, city officials are encouraging residents to be ready to assist first responders in case of any type of emergency.
"It's better to be prepared than surprised," said Dawn Fitzpatrick, chairwoman of the Citizen Corps Council, which includes emergency preparedness and community emergency response teams. "The better prepared an individual and community are, the less the impact will be."
No one is expecting that an emergency as devastating as 9/11 will hit Layton, but preparing to deal with whatever happens is a key part of the program. Fitzpatrick points to fires on the mountain and mudslides as examples of events that have occurred in Layton.
"Those incidents, the city was able to handle," Fitzpatrick said. "Our program is to prepare the community to assist when the city needs us."
For the past seven years, September has been the annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and the Advertising Council.
The 2011 slogan is "A Time to Remember. A Time to Prepare." This year's goal is to turn awareness into action by encouraging all Americans to make sure they are prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities.
Assistant City Manager James Mason made a presentation to Layton's City Council during the council's work session Thursday evening. During the council meeting later that night, Fitzpatrick addressed the council and gave an update on the city's progress with CERT.
Fitzpatrick said there are three keys to the CERT program: preparedness, training and citizens assisting first responders.
The CERT program in Layton comprises 11 districts that share boundaries with the city's stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although Fitzpatrick stressed that this is not an LDS function.
The districts have practiced communication drills and established a block structure with block captains. They have also put together hygiene kits and 72-hour kits.
The program has been going on in Layton for close to six years, and Fitzpatrick said each year more people have become involved.
"We've also noticed that as these disasters occur elsewhere, we'll have more people in the classes," Fitzpatrick said.
Those wishing to become involved with Layton's CERT program can find more information on the city's website at www.laytoncity.org.